The cost-of-living crisis is pushing the European Commission into action. Having faced accusations of being on the backfoot since the pandemic, it is now increasing the number of dawn raids and antitrust investigations. The ultimate intention is to prevent consumers facing higher costs than necessary from businesses.
In July, Exhaust Tyres and Batteries (Worcester) Limited (otherwise known as the Bridgestone-owned ETB tyre retail operation) exceeded the amount of waste the company were legally allowed to deposit at Synergy Tyres Limited, Daventry in total depositing around 250,000 of waste tyres. As a result, ETB was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,463.
The Environment Agency, Calderdale Council, Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue report that they recently uncovered two sites operating illegally in Calderdale and Bradford. As a result, Shakil Ahmed (42), of Halifax, Jamie Craggs (34), of Bradford, and Levi Depass (35) Shipley, appeared at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday 12 July after earlier pleading guilty.
The Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. says it has eliminated “counterfeit versions of the company’s aluminum wheels in China”. Yokohama Rubber filed an administrative complaint and submitted information to the Administration for Market Regulation in Foshan, Guangdong Province, regarding five companies engaged in the distribution of counterfeit sports car aluminium wheels imitating Yokohama’s “ADVAN Racing” wheels. The distributors were selling the counterfeit wheels via internet shopping sites and retail shops outside of the company’s official distribution channels.
On 15 March, the government authorities in Xiuwen County, where Guizhou Tyre (also known as Advance Tyre) is located, fined the tyre manufacturer 500,000 yuan (about £59,000; €67,000). Tyrepress China has found that the punishment was related to a production safety accident half a year ago. On 30 August 2022, a mechanical injury accident occurred in Guizhou Tyre Rubber Compounding Branch, resulting in the death of one person.
Hankook Tire & Technology has confirmed reports of the arrest of Hankook Tire chairman Cho Hyun-bum. Writing in statements published between 7-9 March, company officials confirmed that: “On 6 March 2023, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office requested an arrest warrant for our executive, Cho Hyun-bum. As a result of the Seoul Central District Court’s pre-arrest interrogation (arrest warrant review), an arrest warrant was issued on 9 March 2023.”
On 9 March, Cho Hyun-bum, chairman of Hankook Tire, was arrested. The charges against him include illicit inter-affiliate trading, embezzlement and breach of trust. According to Yonhap News Agency, the amount involved in Cho Hyun-bum’s embezzlement and breach of trust may exceed 20 billion won (about £12.7 million; €14.3 million). It is reported that the Seoul Central District Court in South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Cho Hyun-bum in order to safeguard evidence after a court hearing on 8 March.
On 13 January, Huai’an Customs issued an administrative penalty decision to Jiangsu Hankook Tire Co., Ltd. The subject of the penalty involved 271,000 yuan (approximately £32,500, €36,900) in tax underpayment. The penalty document issued by Huai’an Customs shows that Jiangsu Hankook failed to truthfully declare the price of bonded materials during the process of declaring to the customs.
Following the news that Wales-based garage equipment firm Oakmain Ltd’s sales manager was prosecuted for providing fraudulent solicitors letters to some garages applying to become MOT test centres, it has emerged that the historically “long-time” Garage Equipment Association (GEA) member company have been “struck off” from membership.
The sales manager of Wales-based garage equipment supplier Oakmain Ltd received a suspended custodial sentence on 16 January 2023. Newport Crown Court found that Thomas Richard Woods “knowingly providing false information in the form of forged solicitors letters to secure MOT garage applications” following a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) investigation. The company reportedly also completed the MOT Station application (VT01) form, which is required to set up an MOT test station on behalf of customers. The DVSA described the case as “the first-ever prosecution for providing fraudulent solicitors letters used as part of MOT garage applications.”
In September Tyrepress learned from China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA) that, on 14 September, CRIA and the European Commission (EC) investigators held an online hearing on the European Commission’s renewed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations relating to the imports of Chinese-made truck tyres. Shortly afterwards, Tyrepress reported that Laurens Elsen, an EC investigator, said that the EC would contact EU customs to ensure that during the re-investigation, the relevant departments will not “impose” any anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on the tyre companies that prevail in the judgment of the European Court of Justice. However, European Commission representatives contested that interpretation, arguing that the language of levying rather than imposition is more appropriate.
The Department for Transport (DfT) banned truck tyres over 10 years old with effect from 1 February 2021. Now, in Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) are “seeking views on proposals with a view to introducing similar legislation in the North of Ireland”. Specifically, DfI are inviting relevant stakeholders and the public to respond to this consultation. The scope of the consultation covers “heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches and minibuses”. And the consultation is aimed at owners and operators of those vehicles as well as those involved in the “manufacture, provision and/or maintenance of tyres for these vehicle types”.
There has been a huge increase in the number of MOT testers disqualified in the past two years. Worse still, the latest news is part of a longer-term trend, with disqualifications having been on the up for years. Indeed, nearly 3.5 times more MOT testers are being disqualified now compared with six years ago.